I absolutely think that there should be a Bill of Rights for the Social Web. There are some major difficulties in creating a set of rules for the Internet and Social Media because there are challenges in setting those rules. I respect Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington for taking responsibility for creating these. The Bill fo Rights gives Social Media users knowledge and power to own their words.
The main points for the Bill of Rights contain:
- Ownership of their own personal information, including:
- their own profile data
- the list of people they are connected to
- the activity stream of content they create;
- Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
- Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.
I would also recommend adding something about transparency. It is important that if you want respect as a blogger, you need to fully disclose your information and that you are completely transparent with who you are and what you do. We have seen problems with this from agencies and big companies who don’t disclose who they work for.
Control is difficult because once you post something on the internet – it doesn’t go away. That is why it is so important that the first Bill of Rights stresses ownership of all the information that you put on there.
In my opinion, companies need to have a social media policy as well. Knowing that so many people are using social media, each company/agency/association need to implement a Bill of Rights unique to their organization. Everyone that is using the sites need to recognize their responsibilities and realize that they are representing themselves and a company. More than half of employers block Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. While I don’t think companies should full-on block these sites, I think it is important they recognize people are using the sites and should implement policies based on their rules.
All in all, I think it is difficult to establish a Social Media Bill of Rights, but this one does a good job in making it general and overarching. Also, people need to recognize that since new technologies and Web sites are continuing to be developed, the Bill of Rights need to be ever-changing and constantly updated.